By Mary O’Connell
Delecorte Press Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 240 pages
Sandanista Jones of Kansas City is smart and sassy, but beneath a façade of wit and snark, her heart is broken. This is not your typical teen drama novel. Sandanista’s heart aches from loneliness. She hasn’t broken up with her boyfriend or been ostracized by a coveted clique at school. Sandanista is an 18 year old orphan. She never met her father, and has recently lost her mother in a tragic car accident. For months, she ignored her friends’ calls, and they no longer bother; no one seems to know how to approach Sandanista or “deal” with her. After an outburst at school towards a bullying, antagonistic teacher, she temporarily drops out, gets a job at the Pale Circus, a hip vintage clothes store, and buys a gun. Sandanista obsessively checks the messages on her answering machine. Surely the school will call. Surely someone cares about her. The whole class saw what Mrs. Bennett did to her. But no one calls. Sandanista has never felt so alone, or angry. Fingering her beloved gun, she projects all of her pain onto Mrs. Bennett. Will she have the guts to carry out her revenge, or will someone step into Sandanista’s life to help her cope and heal from where it has been ripped open? Check out Mary O’Collell’s The Sharp Time to find out.
Reviewed by Emily Davis